7 New Cases of Legionnaires in Mercer County, NJDOH Investigates

Morristown Minute

NJDOH Investigates, 7 New Cases of Legionnaires’ Disease Discovered in Mercer County, NJ.Photo byHannah XuonUnsplash

Health Officials Investigate Seven Additional Cases of Legionnaires’ Disease Reported in Mercer County, Urge Precautions to Reduce Risk of Legionella Growth

Mercer County, NJ - The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is conducting an ongoing investigation into Legionnaires' disease cases in Mercer County, with seven additional cases reported between October 2022 and March 2023. Two of the seven individuals have died.

The affected areas are served by Trenton Water Works (TWW), and the cases occurred in Trenton, Ewing Township, Lawrence Township, and Hamilton Township.

Health officials have briefed elected representatives on this matter and will continue to collaborate with them throughout the investigation.

NJDOH is urging residents and building owners receiving water from TWW to follow recommendations to reduce the risk of Legionella growth, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease, in their plumbing systems.

Although rare for a healthy person exposed to Legionella to develop Legionnaires' disease, individuals 50 years or older, smokers, and those with certain medical conditions are at increased risk.

Legionnaires' disease, a type of pneumonia, is contracted by breathing in aerosolized water containing Legionella bacteria. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches, and can be fatal, but the disease is treatable with antibiotics.

NJDOH is partnering with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and affected local health departments to investigate factors promoting Legionella growth and evaluate remedial actions to improve water quality.

TWW will initiate a low-velocity flushing program in early April 2023 to increase water circulation and optimize chlorine levels.

To decrease risks of Legionella exposure, NJDOH recommends following best practices for maintaining household water systems and devices, avoiding high-risk activities, maintaining in-home medical equipment, and cleaning and replacing showerheads, faucet aerators, and water filters. Building owners are also advised to take specific actions to prevent Legionella growth.

Residents with questions or concerns can contact TWW at (609) 989-3208 or the NJDEP Bureau of Safe Drinking Water at (609) 292-5550, or visit dep.nj.gov/trentonwater. More information on Legionnaires' disease can be found on the NJDOH website.

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